When Sir Steve Redgrave won his fourth gold Olympic medal he gave permission to anyone who saw him get into a boat again to shoot him.
Last week Plumbmaster Bangor, Plumbing & Heating Manager, Tiny Weatherill quoted Great Britain’s greatest ever Olympian to his wife after he had finished an epic fundraising walk – almost half of which he completed with a 15 kilo boiler strapped to his back! Tiny’s wife had wanted to know if this was the end of his extreme challenges. Tiny set off from Plumbmaster’s Coleraine branch on Sunday June 23 for a challenge which would take him around 10 of the company’s 11 branches of the company’s branches in just seven days. From Coleraine he walked to Ballymena and then to Larne and on to Duncrue and then Bangor. From Bangor he stopped off at the Belfast branches at Ladas Drive and Boucher Road en- route to Lisburn and then to Portadown before finishing on Saturday June 29 at Plumbmaster Newry.
His challenge was in aid of Belfast- based homeless charity, The Welcome Organisation. Plumbmaster’s motivation for choosing this charity was due to the death of a colleague’s sister who had been living on the streets. Tiny has reached his target of raising £6145. “Plumbmaster Director, Eamonn McCarthy asked me to come up with a fitting way of raising money for our chosen charity,” said Tiny. “I have done a few walking challenges in Scotland so we decided to do a walking challenge with me visiting the Plumbmaster branches and as it was in aid of a homeless charity it felt fitting that I should sleep rough in our branches at night.”
Ireland Director of Sales at Vaillant Ltd, Catherine Russell then threw down the challenge to Tiny to complete the walk with a boiler on his back.
“Yes I have Catherine to thank for the boiler,” joked Tiny. “I managed to walk with it strapped to my back for about 70 of the 145 miles but my knee was giving me real pain so I had to take it off for the rest of the journey – although I did put it on again for the final leg into Newry.”
“Despite the pain in my knee and my feet being a mess I was always going to finish the challenge, quitting was not an option for me. But the real heroes are the people who work for The Welcome Organisation who will be out on our streets looking after homeless people long after my walk is forgotten about.” Eamonn McCarthy paid tribute to Tiny’s incredible fundraising effort.
“This was a very brave and courageous challenge for Tiny to do,” said Eamonn. “Initially we had thought of doing the challenge as a relay with different members of staff taking part but Tiny was up to the task of doing it by himself. “It is great that we will be able to support The Welcome Organisation over the next year – it is a charity which feels quite personal to us at Plumbmaster and we will be doing our best to raise as much money as possible over the coming months. At our recent golf day we took up a collection for the charity and it was very well supported.”
So did Tiny really mean this is the end of his fundraising challenges?
“Well after telling people to shoot him if he got into a boat again, Sir Steve Redgrave returned to win a fifth Olympic gold medal,” said Tiny. “Never say never – and of course we will be supporting The Welcome Organisation over the next year so there will be more money to raise.” You can still donate to Tiny’s challenge.